The Dignity of Questions

Personal observation: I’ve noticed others asking me questions less and less. Is it because they are focused on themselves more and more?

Or that I give overly long answers.

Recently I noticed one person standing alone in a crowded room, amidst ongoing conversations, and nobody engaged in a conversation or asked a question. Consider the loneliness of being so lowly, that no one even asks us about the weather.

All of us have experienced that crowded room in one sense or another.

A principle of Jesus’s life was asking questions. He asked about 310 questions in the Gospels. He asked challenging questions (Who do people say that I am?), He asked questions from compassion (Do you want to be well?), He asked personal questions (Why worry about clothes?), Jesus asked critical questions (Why do you break the law of Moses?), and He asked direct questions (Why are you seeking to kill me?).

In the presence of Jesus, we would be like Zacchaeus, “Hurry on down from that tree, Zack, because I’m coming to your house for lunch.”

Talk to Jesus and He will ask you a question. To follow Jesus, we must ask questions of others. Not inane questions, not about the weather, and not leading questions so that we can talk about ourselves.

Questions of compassion, concern, friendship, and challenge. A great friend takes the time to ask a question that will open a deep conversation. Most of us must be asked questions of concern several times before we feel confident to answer honestly.

Life-giving spirituality is equal parts understanding God and understanding self – both questions of God and self.

Call to me and I will answer you and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.  Jeremiah 33:3 ESV

Ask questions of God!

I’m never offended when someone asks me why God allows tragedy. I love to discuss the theology of justice and God’s judgment of sinners. Yes, I will debate (with love) those who question the existence of God.

God is okay with questions. Read the Psalms and Job. Many questions!

Ask questions about yourself.

This is more difficult because we hide from ourselves. It takes humility for true self-awareness. We need others to challenge our attitudes, but we find it hard to listen and honestly answer the questions of those seeking to help and encourage our obedience to God.

Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment. A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.  Proverbs 18:1-2

Seeking God is asking questions. Seeking self is talking too much. The “more and more” of life about us alone, has little energy to ask or answer questions.

Personally, I ask too many questions. I notice quickly when I’m asking all the questions in a conversation. I find it refreshing when someone asks me a question and I sense they want an honest answer.

I need more friends like that. You do too.

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